For nearly 30 years, “The Forgotten Carols” has helped audiences discover the joy of Christmas through its beloved stage production. Now, this classic holiday tradition finds new life as it hits the big screen. For those involved, the journey of production and filming stands as a testament to the miracles we can find, even in difficult times. It began, like most things this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michael McLean, songwriter, playwright, and creator of “The Forgotten Carols” had always wanted to do a film adaptation of his stage play. When he realized it would be impossible for the production to tour as it had in the past, he and his talented team knew it was finally time to make it happen.
“I felt that it was a way to give a much needed Christmas gift to those who have been supporting and encouraging me for all these years,” McLean said. However, they knew they’d need a Christmas miracle to pull it off as pandemic restrictions and budgeting worries began to mount.
“Almost weekly we realized there wasn’t enough time, or money, or even the possibility of getting this out there for the 2020 holidays,” McLean said. “But at every turn, there would be a miracle. The funding was available. Finding a theatre we could film in that had protocols in place so it would be safe. Sometimes the turn around from having to cancel to being ‘on again’ was less than 36 hours. Right up until the final moments before the movie had to be completed, the team was tweaking, refining, editing, dubbing, and color correcting. And when we sat together at the screening room there was a moment when my heart realized that the miracles happened because people I didn’t even know were hoping and waiting for something like this to lift their spirits and circle them and theirs in the arms of heavenly love.”
Featuring a nurse who hates the holidays and her peculiar patient Uncle John, “The Forgotten Carols” tells the Nativity story through the eyes of lesser-known characters, such as the Innkeeper, the Shepherd, and more. Music and story combine to help Connie Lou open her heart and remember what the world has forgotten about Christmas. It stars McLean as Uncle John and five of the cast members who have toured with the stage production for the last six years, including Adrien Swenson as Connie Lou. The cast and crew believe the message of “The Forgotten Carols” is needed now more than ever.
“Every Christmas, when we read from the Bible account of the angels saying to the shepherds abiding in the field, “Fear Not,” we try to imagine what it meant to those people having this experience over two thousand years ago,” McLean said. “But has there ever been a year in our lifetimes when we so desperately need to hear the heavens say to us “Fear Not”? I don’t think so. I’ve never seen ‘The Forgotten Carols’ from the audience’s point of view because I’ve been on stage performing in it for 29 years. Watching the film, I found myself being touched by things I was hearing and seeing in a way I couldn’t even imagine…and at the end, there was joy and there was peace…and I realized that I probably needed it more than anyone, this year.”
To experience this brand new production of “The Forgotten Carols” on the big screen visit www.TheForgottenCarols.com/
“I hope that those who see the stage to screen adaptation of ‘The Forgotten Carols’ and are touched by it, will think about the people in their lives who might need it and then put in a good word. Invite them to get a mask and see it socially distanced in a theater or encourage a friend who needs a lift over the holidays to stream it when that opportunity is announced. I’ve been doing that with people in my life in the spirit of ‘open BEFORE Christmas so the spirit of the season can last a little longer.'”
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.